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Clean Water Protection Act

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Our home, the environment, is being destroyed because of how we gain our resources. Mountaintop removal destroys the land around mountains, making the process a prime example of this issue. “Appalachian Voices commissioned a study showing that nearly 1.2 million acres of land has been surface mined for coal and more than 500 mountains have been severely impacted or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining” ( Birds, fish, other animals, and even humans call mountaintops and the land surrounding them home, and that home is being compromised through mountaintop removal. In order to make a difference and help our precious environment, we need a petition demanding the government to change the Clean Water Act and enact the Clean Water Protection Act, which will reduce the amount of mountaintop removals going on right now.

Mountaintop removal is, at the most basic level, a means to extract coal, which is a very dirty energy source. This is done by blowing up a mountain, whose coal is deeply embedded in the rock. The first step of mountaintop removal is to get rid of all of the land above it. This includes trees, plants, bushes, and whatever else is in the area. Next, workers take dynamite and blow up the top of the mountain. Once the mountaintop is torn apart, the workers dig through the rocks and soil, removing layers and layers of the mountain. After that is done, a dragline finds and exposes the coal. Mountaintop removal workers then scoop out the layers of coal that is needed for fuel. After the extracting is complete, mountaintop removal companies are supposed to reclaim the land so it is able to rejuvenate and revegetate.

This last step of mountaintop removal is the most crucial for sustaining a habitable environment. Yet, this step is almost always disregarded because it seems frivolous and costly to the companies, whose only goal is to extract the coal from the mountains. Companies seem to think they have done their job, but because they do not complete this last step, they are destroying the mountain’s fragile environment. “500 of the world’s most ancient mountains have been leveled, but not reclaimed” ( This number will increase if we do not take a stand and petition for the Clean Water Protection Act.

One of the consequences of mountaintop removal is the destruction of the land surrounding the mountain. “More than 2000 miles of streams have been buried, destroying habitable land” ( When the mountaintop is being dug up, all of the debris is being thrown off the mountain and into valleys. Valleys usually contain water for consuming, but by releasing the debris down the mountain, companies fill up these streams and rivers that are essential for sustainable life around them. Not only is there solid debris, there is also liquid waste that is being released from the mountaintop. This liquid is highly toxic, so if it reaches the communities surrounding the mountain or falls into their drinking water, people and animals will be forced from their homes to avoid the toxins.

Another severe consequence of mountaintop removal is the destruction of the habitats of birds and fish. By taking down the trees and bushes and failing to replant them, it removes the opportunity that birds might have to nest. This causes birds to migrate more often. If there is no place for them to nest, there is little reason for birds to fly north for the spring and summer. They will start to migrate to the south earlier unless we stop disregarding the last step of mountaintop removal. By releasing toxins into the water, it is also poisoning the fish in the streams and rivers. This kills the fish, and decreases our food supply because we are not able to consume the fish if they are toxic.

We are also affected by mountaintop removal. Residents near the mountains that are being leveled are forced to leave their homes for many reasons. One reason is that the explosion of the mountain from the dynamite makes the foundations of homes unstable, and thus, dangerous to live in. If the toxic liquid or solid waste contaminates the streams, no one will be able to consume it without getting sick or seriously injured which can eventually lead to death. “On January 9, a chemical spill poisoned the drinking water for over 300,000 people in West Virginia, an event which would likely have been avoided by regulatory oversight and proper inspection” ( If the source of water is blocked, residents are forced to leave because water is essential for us and for our crops. Lastly, mountaintop removal does not help our economy. It does not create jobs because it requires a small number of people to carry out the coal mining process. Few people are needed because the technology of the dynamite and the dragline.

These are all negative consequences for one positive thing, which is not all that great because “mountaintop removal mining provides less than 4.5 percent of our electricity” ( It is obvious that mountaintop removal needs to be stopped. We can do this by petitioning to for the Clean Water Protection Act. This petition’s success will change the Clean Water Act that was enacted during the Bush Administration. The Clean Water Act says that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can give out permits so companies can contaminate the waters. We need to change this Clean Water Act to the Clean Water Protection Act, which has a purpose of protecting the water from being contaminated. By changing this act, it will sharply reduce mountaintop removal because it is almost impossible not to contaminate waters from the way coal is being extracted. It will protect the drinking water of the people and animals, and therefore, protect the quality of life.

Please make a difference by signing the petition for the Clean Water Protection Act.

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